Setting

Indian farmer smoking his hookah or water pipe - 1962The story is set in Kritam, a fictional Indian village. It is described to be incredibly tiny and poorly built, a ramshackle of a town. This is reiterated in the following passage:

“…Kritam was probably the tiniest, indicated on the district survery map as a microscopic dot. The map being more for the revenue official out to collect tax than for the guidance of the motorist, who in any case could not hope to reach it since it sprawled far from the highway at the end of a rough track furrowed up by the iron-hooped wheels of bullock carts. But its size did not prevent its giving itself the grandiose name Kritam, which meant in Tamil ‘coronet’ or ‘crown’ on the brow of its subcontinent. The village consisted of less than thirty houses, only one of them built with brick and cement.”

The use of the words and phrases such as “microscopic,” “sprawled far,” “at the end,” and “less than,” all highlight and suggest the town’s rural, modest and deserted nature, as they have connotations with being small or going unnoticed, much like the town and the people living in it. Also, the author uses a long sentence to create an effect of distance when describing the town and its location to the reader. By doing this, he is able to highlight how far from (modern) civilization this village is because of the fact that the sentence kept rolling on.

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